Dr. Mehta’s research involves neuroimaging of brain activity during exercise and when individuals are under stress.

Dr. Mehta’s research involves neuroimaging of brain activity during exercise and when individuals are under stress.

Ranjana Mehta, Ph.D., M.S., assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, is the recipient of the Faculty Research Award from the Sydney and J.L. Huffines Institute for Sports Medicine and Human Performance. As a recipient of the award, Mehta will serve for the next year on the Huffines Institute Executive Board.

Mehta’s research project “Physical functioning under stress: Imaging of the aging brain in obese individuals” will examine how obesity impacts the functioning of the aging brain during physical activity, particularly under stress.

An estimated 71 million Americans over the age of 65 will be obese in 2030, which has serious implications on the structures and functions of both the aging musculoskeletal and central nervous systems that have been linked to physical and cognitive impairments. This project will investigate neural changes that occur with obesity and the normal aging process under stressful conditions, and will aid in understanding the best interventions to apply to improve brain and subsequent physical and mental health for a growing number of elderly Americans.

Mehta is the director of the NeuroErgonomics Lab and co-director of the Ergonomics Center in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. She received both a Ph.D. and M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and an M.Eng. from SUNY at the University of Buffalo.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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